Local News

Blue Cross to refund $155M under health reform law

Posted September 20, 2010

— Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina said Monday that it would refund $155.8 million to 215,000 policyholders because of the national health reform effort.

Brad Wilson, chief executive of Blue Cross, the state's largest insurer, said the refunds would be issued by the end of the year to people who had individual Blue Advantage or Blue Options HSA policies on March 23, the date when President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 into law.

"This is not necessarily in response to any criticism. It's simply the right thing to do," Wilson said. "A new law was enacted, new rules are in force, change is in the air."

Blue Cross sign Health reform allows one-time Blue Cross refund

Refunds will be equivalent to a little less than two months of premiums, meaning the average policyholder who pays a $380 monthly premium would receive about $690 back, he said.

"My initial reaction was to look out the window and see if any pigs were flying by. This is really amazing," said Adam Searing, director of the North Carolina Health Access Coalition and a frequent Blue Cross critic.

The one-time refunds are the result of new rating and grandfathering rules in the health reform law. Blue Cross will pay the refunds from reserves on the policies, Wilson said, noting deep reserves aren't needed because the policies will end in 2014 when the health care reform is fully enacted.

The state Department of Insurance also said Monday that it has approved a 5.37 percent rate increase to the Blue Advantage policies, which is lower than the 6.97 percent increase Blue Cross requested last month. Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin said the lower increase – it's the lowest Blue Advantage increase in four years – would save policyholders $14.5 million.

The DOI approved Blue Cross' requested 2.06 percent rate increase for Blue Options HSA policies.

129 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oldest First
View all
  • ncguy Sep 22, 2:03 p.m.

    Yes almost 900 bucks a month for coverage for a family of 4 with no prior health issues- crazy!

    Here's another issue I have.

    Why do I get charged the same when I see a P A physician assistant?

    If a plumber or electrician has a helper the helper rate is half!

  • Waterman Sep 21, 12:01 p.m.

    exteacher, We understand it, we just don't like it. A 10 percent increase is ridiculous.

  • Proud2BUS Citizen Sep 21, 11:56 a.m.

    Since, I am under a BCBS group policy that my employer offers (which they pay 50% of the employee cost only and 0% for family memmber) I will not see any of this refund and my cost went up about 30% this year.

  • esprg Sep 21, 8:43 a.m.

    @NYCgal
    I agree our rates went up and its crazy my specialist now cost $60 my primary is now @ $30 and our deductible is now $1K per family member.

  • FromClayton Sep 21, 8:21 a.m.

    Remember folks, we MUST take care of ourselves as well and not just depend on crazy busy docs to spoon feed us our medical info. When I was pregnant, I went to the best OB in town, and still checked up on every single thing they told me all over the internet. I am sure I would have caught anything seriously wrong myself and brought it up to my doc. Don't dignose yourself, but a little bit of research, and a lot of prevention is worth way more than a 10 minute doc. visit when you have no clue where to even start. Take care of yourselves people. Never depend on anyone else to do it for you.

  • jbyrd Sep 21, 8:19 a.m.

    Only a few, under 30 folks will get the refund. It is only going to those not on a group plan and if you're over 30 they will find a reason to turn you down for individual insurance.
    Insurance is the biggest rip off in America.

  • FromClayton Sep 21, 8:14 a.m.

    note they are giving back to a few people and raising the rate on everyone. I am afriad this is how all this health care "reform" is going to work. A few poor people will get a break, and the rest of us will carry even more of their burden.

  • justiceforall Sep 20, 7:49 p.m.

    I want mine with interest.

  • NYCgal Sep 20, 7:11 p.m.

    How about not raise rates for 2011???? Found out today my rates with BCBS is going up thanks to the reform plan. My company was awesome in that they included the email directly from BCBS outlining why they will be raking us over the coals. More money for horrible insurance.

  • warmfuzzz Sep 20, 7:08 p.m.

    So good. I get some money back only to have to turn around and pay more out in the increase. Can't get a break on my daughters policy can I.

More...